Chapter 3 - Google Shopping

While the Tech SEO recommendations are being implemented you can continue to maximise the assets you already have. One of these is Google Shopping which is a must for any eCommerce site. Hamlet Batista shares his recommendations with us on Tea Time SEO.

Take advantage of Google Shopping’s free retail listings

In June 2020, Google began listing products alongside Google Shopping results for free. This means that your products can be listed in the Shopping tab of Google results at zero cost per click. Your products will also be eligible for product knowledge panels like this:

However, there is some up-front setup needed for Google Shopping to list your products.

Here is how you can get started:

  • Complete the free registration process at Google Merchant Center
  • When you set up your account, opt in to allow Google to show your products in free listings. See the instructions under “Ensure that your feed is opted in to free listings”
  • If you have retail stores, opt in to show your products on local surfaces across Google.
  • Create a product feed to give Google all the relevant information about your products and submit it to Google Merchant Center.
  • Monitor the product feed for any issues. In Google Merchant Center, go to Products > Diagnostics and review any errors that appear. 
    • You may see errors such as “Violation of shopping ads policy” that do not look accurate, i.e. a harmless product being labeled as dangerous. 
    • Review the product to ensure that it does not violate Google’s policies, and then submit the product to be reviewed.
    • Google limits how many products you can submit for review per week, so it’s recommended to go through these on a weekly basis when you first set up the feed.
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Hamlet Batista

CEO at Rank Sense

Hamlet was the founder and CEO of RankSense. He had a Technical SEO background with an emphasis on ecommerce and was a big part of the search community. Hamlet invented RankSense, an app to simplify implementation of SEO fixes using Google Sheets. Hamlet enjoys using automation and machine learning to solve SEO problems at scale with Python 🐍. He will be missed by all.

Watch our Tea Time SEO session here:

Table of Contents

Optimize product images for SEO

Product images are critical for online conversions, but they can also drive traffic to your site. Google displays image search results alongside the regular organic results. Some sites find that up to 10% of their traffic comes from image searches. 

Here are some tips to optimize your images for search:

  • Avoid excessive text in images. Use CSS to overlay the text instead.
  • Use descriptive image file names, such as the name of the product instead of image14.png
  • Use alt text to describe what the image contains. Alt text improves accessibility for users with visual impairments, but Google also uses alt text to understand images. 
    • Don’t stuff unnecessary keywords into your alt text. It should read naturally.
  • Search engines also use the content around images to understand it, so your images should make sense in context. 
  • Consider using an image sitemap.

Also check Google’s detailed guide to best practices for images.

Use schema.org markup for shipping data

If you are not already using schema.org markup on your pages, you should be! This is a topic that is well-covered elsewhere, so this guide will just highlight a new type of schema for shipping data.

The shippingDetails schema will make it possible for Google to display information about your shipping in the search results. This is an opportunity to highlight free shipping to users. Here is an example from the recent Google Webmasters announcement:

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Here are some best practices for implementing this type of schema:

  • Only use the shippingDetails schema on pages that contain one product. This could be a product page on an ecommerce site, or a shopping aggregator page that lists multiple retailers for a single product. 
  • Set the shippingRate property to zero for regions that you offer free shipping to. This property can be specified for defined regions.
  • Use the doesNotShip property to indicate regions that you don’t ship to. 
  • If you have multiple shipping options (for example, 2-day delivery and standard shipping), you can use multiple shippingDetails properties that contain the details for each type of shipping, using the deliveryTime property along with the shippingRate property.

Google’s guide to product schema contains example code. See more details on schema.org.

Optimize for local store rankings

If you have physical stores, local search results can be a way to drive sales at your retail locations. Customers search for not only the name of stores that they plan to shop at, but also for types of stores and products that they need. Hopefully, you rank well for your brand name, but what about for “kitchenware near me,” “appliances near me,” or “furniture near me”? 

Follow these tips to optimize for local search results:

  • Create a webpage for every store location using the URL structure /country/city/store. Ensure that search engine bots can crawl every store by following links from your homepage. 
  • Add content to the store pages to make each one unique. List information such as the hours of operation, phone numbers, a map of the location, and reviews from customers.
  • Add structured data for local businesses to the page so that search engines can gather the relevant information for the Knowledge Graph. 
  • Verify all of your locations in Google My Business, using the bulk uploader if you have many locations.
  • Use Search Console to discover how users are searching for your business. Incorporate relevant keywords into your title tags.

 

Visit Practical eCommerce to learn how to create a Google Product feed from XML and Search Engine Journal goes into detail about generating text from images with python here.

 

Closing Remarks

We have only just touched the surface of Tech SEO in our first part of the Tech SEO guide. If you would like to contribute to it, reach out to us at marketing@authoritas.com.

The technical part of any site should ideally work hand in hand with Off-page SEO and On-page SEO which we have talked about in our guide. Technical SEO is the foundation of any site, if you do not have your “ducks in a row” and do not have a healthy site, then it will be difficult to appear higher in the SERPs generate more visits and sales. Depending on resources, some tech audits can take anywhere from 1 to 5 days or sometimes even longer. Therefore it is important to not compare your site with others, instead, focusing on maximising the performance of your site with the time allowed.

 

Featured image by Christian Wiediger on Unsplash

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